Parking costs in some parts of Wimbledon is set to rise to £4.50 an hour
By Tara O'Connor, Local Democracy Reporter
Consultation on controversial plans to increase parking charges in Merton will start this week.
On Friday, March 29, the council will launch a consultation on increased parking charges across the borough.
It says that this is an attempt to improve air quality while getting people to use their cars less.
Wimbledon town centre will see the highest charges going up to £4.50 an hour in some areas.
And permits in Wimbledon will increase from £65 to £150 annually.
In areas like Raynes Park and New Malden where public transport in the area is not as good, permits will go up by £5 to £70.
At the Raynes Park Community Forum on Tuesday night residents were outraged with the proposals.
Chris Larkman, Secretary of the Raynes Park Association said: “There is no welcome to your stupid plans from anybody, I would think.
“Basically it is fair that you tax me for the privilege of driving a car, I’ve no problem with that.
“This tax is totally unfair. If I have a £3million house on Wimbledon common I pay nothing and if I’m in an area with no controlled parking I pay nothing.
“It is fair for you to tax me if it is done across the board, but this is not across the board.” His comments were met with applause from other residents.
And he thought that increased charges could affect small businesses in Raynes Park.
Mr Larkman added: “We’ve pushed and pushed for lower parking charges in Raynes Park and asked for 20-minute free parking and we’ve had that refused.
“All that you are saying about health is entirely right but this is a totally unfair way of going about it.”
What did the council have to say?
Cath James, interim assistant director of public protection, said: “We want to send the very clear message that the council is listening and interested in hearing what you think.”
She added that as well as addressing air quality, the increased charges could encourage more people to walk or cycle and in turn reduce obesity and diabetes.
Head of parking services Ben Stevens said unlike in other boroughs, the parking department was working with public health rather than traffic on the plans.
On the charges, he said: “If you live in the middle of Wimbledon town centre and you are in a controlled zone which is enforced for 15 hours a day, that will be the highest charge in the borough.
“If you live away from public transport and you are only enforced for one hour a day, that will be a cheaper permit to buy.”
Consultation will go live on the Merton Council website on Friday (March 29) and close on May 5.
It will cover council owned car parks, visitor passes, and on street parking.
There will be increases across the board but ‘incentives’ for electric car drivers.
March 27, 2019